Thursday, August 13, 2015
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Theodore Roosevelt was only 25 years old in 1883 when he came to North Dakota to hunt buffalo. He loved the area so much that, before returning to New York and his wife of three years, he bought a herd of cattle and hired two local men to tend them. They also built a small cabin for him. Back in New York 1884 was a tragic year for Roosevelt. His mother and wife died on the same day and Roosevelt escaped to North Dakota and threw himself into the ranch, buying more cattle and having a larger house built. Roosevelt, like many others, lost over half of his cattle in the winter of 1886-87, ending his career in cattle speculation. He sold the ranch two years later.
From 1934 until 1978, when Theodore Roosevelt National Park was established, the Little Missouri Badlands was set aside and developed for public recreation. The park has three units, South, North and Elkhorn Ranch, all within the Little Missouri River National Grasslands. Each has a separate entrance. We visited the South Unit. The South Unit has a visitor center, Roosevelt’s first cabin, a campground, a 36 mile scenic loop, and hiking trails.
The visitor center and cabin are accessible. It’s possible to see the scenic views along the loop road from your vehicle. Two trails are designated as accessible, Skyline Vista and Boicourt Trail. Skyline Vista is paved but a bit bumpy. Boicourt Trail is surfaced with gravel and has a moderate grade. Most wheelchair users will need to have help. We did not visit the campground.
The visitor center lot has long RV spaces. The scenic road is suitable for RVs and most of the parking lots and pull offs have room for RV parking. Park